Pol­i­tics: Bar­ber’s story

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

JAN­UARY 2, Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. I needed a hair­cut to give my­self the look of a new year. Most of the bar­ber shops I used to visit had heavy lines of habitués, mostly el­e­men­tary male pupils. At last, I found one. His rate is be­yond the or­di­nary.

I was the first cus­tomer. After fix­ing me on his chair, he gave his open­ing state­ment, “You are not the usual guy…first time?” I gave him a short an­swer hop­ing that he will al­low me to close my eyes. “I am from Silay. I am a re­tired gov­ern­ment em­ployee.” He made fol­low-up ut­ter­ances. “So, you are from Ne­gros. I thought you are from Iloilo also be­cause the last three cus­tomers I had this morn­ing are from Iloilo.”

He con­tin­ued his recita­tion. “The last guy told me that Iloilo pol­i­tics is hot. Here in Ne­gros, it is not ex­cit­ing. The provin­cial lead­ers have de­cided to have two in one, just like in­stant cof­fee…no thrill.

Any­way, who­ever be­comes gov­er­nor, as ha­cen­dero, he will al­ways run the prov­ince like the ha­cienda. There was this guy who claimed that he was a va­quero but when he won, he was act­ing as ha­cen­dero all the way.”

I was obliged to open my mouth. “There are ha­cen­dero politi­cians who are down to earth. They are good. I can men­tion some. It can’t be de­nied also that there are politi­cians be­long­ing to the old school. They are the tra­di­tional politi­cians who still en­gage in feu­dal prac­tices in our re­gion and in other re­gions. They are there for a longer pe­riod and have es­tab­lished their po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty.”

He stopped cut­ting my hair to punch a point. “You are cor­rect. Vot­ers should vote with an open mind. In our re­gion, Ne­gros-panay-guimaras, we have to push can­di­dates with new vi­sion and who can work hard. Let us not just lis­ten to the bark­ers of the politi­cians on the ra­dio. Many of them are po­lit­i­cal mer­ce­nar­ies. That is why I am telling my bar­bers here to talk to their suki (reg­u­lar clients) to vote for the qual­i­fied can­di­dates.”

He was hold­ing a ra­zor. “I be­lieve in our bishop here that good pol­i­tics is for the ser­vice of peace. Good pol­i­tics pro­tects the rights of the peo­ple and pro­motes life. Those in pol­i­tics should pro­tect our nat­u­ral re­sources. The church is against the coal-fired power plant. We can­not af­ford to poi­son the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion.”

He was giv­ing fin­ish­ing touches to my hair. The mir­ror re­veals my new look…from pa­gan cut to the bet­ter me. I gave my last state­ment. “Pol­i­tics is al­ways like that. Politi­cians want to be happy by be­liev­ing that hap­pi­ness in life comes from join­ing to­gether what one would like to have and what is in­evitable. You are not just a good bar­ber. You talk so well.”

He replied. “This is my hobby job. I work in a ru­ral bank. I don’t be­lieve that you are just a re­tired em­ployee. Why did you not join pol­i­tics?”

“That pos­si­bil­ity never en­tered my mind.”*

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.